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Developmental Psychology

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Presentation on theme: "Developmental Psychology"— Presentation transcript:

1 Developmental Psychology
General overview of Theories of Developmental Psychology

2 Domains of Development
1. Physical development -changes in body size, proportions, appearance, brain development, perceptual and motor capacities, & physical health. 2.  Cognitive development –thought processes, intellectual abilities (attention, memory, problem solving, imagination, creativity), & capacity to represent the world through language. 3. Emotional and Social development – emotional expression, feelings, interpersonal skills, self-understanding, & emotional regulation.

3 Periods of Development
1.  The Prenatal Period (conception-to-birth) Rapid change occurs during which a one-celled organism is transformed into a human baby. 2. Infancy and toddler hood (birth to 2 years) Rapid changes in physiology, perceptual & motor capacities, language acquisition, and emotional development. 3. Early childhood (2 to 6 yrs). Child’s body grows, motor skills become more complex and refined, behavior is more self-controlled and sufficient. Child engages in imaginative play, obtains greater autonomy, develops fluent language and learns morals.  

4 Periods of Development contd.
1.  Middle childhood (6 to 11 yrs). Children master reading, grammar, mathematics,and other academics. They become more independent, responsible, their thought processes become more logical, athletic ability improves, and sense of self becomes more advanced. 2.  Adolescence (11 to 20 yrs). Thought processes becomes more abstract, sexual maturity is reached, interest in preparation for college or work becomes salient. Emotion regulation changing.

5 Themes of Development A. Biological versus Environmental Influence
Do humans develop based on biological factors (genetic factors, chemicals in brain) or environmental experiences (parental rearing, social factors)? Current view - both factors influence human development. How do both biological and environmental factors interact to produce developmental variations in different children?

6 Themes of Development B. Active Versus Passive Child
Are children passive recipients of environmental stimuli or active explorers in their surroundings? Children are active in shaping, controlling, and directing the course of their own development. Parents and teachers do not simply mold children. Rather, children and adults have interactions that influence each other (systems theory).

7 Themes of Development C. Continuity Versus Discontinuity
Is development a continuous process or does it occur in discrete stages? Current view- is a middle-of-the-road position. Development is essentially continuous, but interspersed with periods of transition in which change may be sudden. Transitions - biological (crawling, walking), psychological (the development of emotions- smiling, temper tantrums, etc.) & social (peer relationships.)

8 Themes of Development D. Situational Influences versus Individual Characteristics How much does the context of the situation influence what we learn about children? Do children respond similarly in different situations (with friends, around their parents, relatives, strangers, etc.)? Most researchers look at role of personality and situational factors. 

9 Themes of Development E. Risk and Resilience
How do we respond to the risks we encounter as we develop? Risks-- divorce, death of loved one, accidents, disease, poverty, etc. Children differ with regard to how they cope with these risks. Some are severely impaired, others are quite resilient.

10 Factors influencing Resilience
3 factors buffer children from effects of risk & stress. 1. Positive Individual Attributes – Children with easy dispositions, high self-esteem, and intelligence adapt more easily to stressors. Girls have the edge here. 2. Supportive Family Environment – presence of one caring supportive parent buffers adverse effects of poverty, divorce, & child abuse. (Good news for single parents!!!) 3. Positive influence of agencies outside home (church, school, peers), improves resiliency.

11 Theories of Development
The Psychodynamic View (Freud – ) Popular- 1930s & 1940s. Children move through a series of stages in which they must resolve unconscious conflicts between biological drives and societal expectations. The unsuccessful completion of one of these stages led to development of dysfunctional or abnormal behavior.

12 Structures of Mind 1. Id- present from birth this structure is unconscious and seeks to gratify our most basic urges: hunger, thirst, elimination of waste, and sex. (“I want” of our personality). 2. Ego- is primarily conscious, and tries to satisfy the demands of the id, without compromising the norms of society. The ego works according to the reality principle. 3. Super-ego: the last structure to develop, it is our moral center, it tells us what is right and wrong.

13 Psychosexual Stages of Development
1.  Oral (0-1 year) –infants gains satisfaction from oral stimulation (sucking, licking). 2. Anal (second year of life)- Child’s main source of libidinous pleasure comes from passing and retaining feces. 3. Phallic (3 to 5)- child’s main source of gratification results from stimulation of the genitals. ** Child must overcome Oedipal and Electra complexes. 4. Latency (6-12) - during this stage sexual impulses are dormant. 5. Genital (young adulthood)- During this stage the child develops heterosexual interests.

14 Cons of Freud’s Theory 1. Freud had no scientific data to support his theories. 2. Freud’s theories (unconscious, libido, etc.) cannot be observed. 3. Theory explains behavior (post-hoc) after the fact. 4. Observations not representative of population. 5. Theory based on upper class female patients. The patients were wealthy Viennese women.

15 Pros of Freud’s Work 1. Focused on the influence of unconscious processes. Currently, we know that implicit memories and cognitions influencing behavior (Mere-exposure effect). 2.  Stressed that events in childhood do influence our adult behavior. 3.  Defense mechanisms

16 Learning Theory/Behaviorism
Learning is a relatively permanent change brought about by knowledge and/or experience. Popular- 1940s-1960 Human development is influenced by environmental factors. Behaviorism - focuses on observable behaviors, rather than on consciousness.

17 Types of Learning Classical condition: reflexive learning by association Pavlov’s study: Step 1: Meat Powder (UCS) Salivation (UCR) Step 2: Bell (CS) ---Meat Powder (UCS)--Salivation (UCR) (pair bell with meat) Step 3: Bell (CS) Salivation (CR)

18 Watson & Rayner (1920) Conditioned emotional responses in an 11-month-old infant (“Little Albert”). Used classical conditioning to get infant to fear white furry objects (rats, santa’s beard, fur coat, etc.). They did this by presenting a loud obnoxious noise (CS) whenever “Albert” showed an interest in the white furry rat. Soon, child came to fear white furry objects without presence of noise.

19 Operant conditioning (B.F. Skinner)
Operant conditioning – behavior may be learned or extinguished through use of reinforcers (rewards) or punishments. Positive Reinforcement E.g., a good grade received after studying for an exam Negative Reinforcement E.g., smoking behavior increases to reduce the aversive sensations associated with a nicotine fit.

20 Social Learning Theory
Modeling (Albert Bandura) We learn the consequences of given actions by observing what happens to others. Observing whether others are reinforced or punished for given behaviors may influence the probability that we will produce such behaviors. Added benefit: We don’t have to be punished to learn “what-not-to-do.”

21 Cognitive Developmental Theory
 Piaget’s theory (1960s) Children actively construct knowledge as they manipulate and explore their world, & their cognitive development takes place in stages. Argued that children adapt to their surroundings. Children don’t come out with blank slate, but with methods for acquiring knowledge.

22 Processes of Change According to Piaget 2 complementary cognitive processes play a major role in promoting change and increase children’s cognitive understanding of their world. Assimilation is the process by which children absorb new information in with their current framework (schema). Accomodation is the process by which children modify existing knowledge structures based on incorporating new information.

23 Piaget’s Stages of Cognitive Development
Sensorimotor (birth to 2 yrs)- infants acquire knowledge by “acting” on their environment, using their senses and movements to explore the world. Preoperational (2-7 yrs)- preschool-age children acquire advanced language skills and start to think using symbols. Concrete operational (7-11 yrs)- Children’s reasoning becomes logical. They learn to logically organize concepts. They learn conservation of liquids and solids. Formal operational (11+ yrs)-Abstract thinking comes on-line, problem solving ability improves.

24 Cons of Piaget’s theory
1. Piaget underestimated the competencies of infants and preschoolers. (E.g., when young children are given tasks scaled down in difficulty, their understanding appears closer to that of older children and the adult) 2.Children’s performance on Piagetian tasks can be improved with training. Suggests there is a problem with the assumption that discovery learning rather than adult teaching is the best way to foster development.


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